« PreviousContinue »
Under the title of Geological Conjectures, the author first con, siders the changes which may have taken place in the interval between the general Deluge and our earliest records, and which may have been such as to render it difficult for us to give a satisfactory answer to all the questions which have been proposed by infidels, respecting the very brief and compendious relation of our sacred records, when describing the universal deluge.' Such, for example, may have been the formation of many great alluvial flats, and the subsidence of large portions of land. Secondly, the shifting of the poles of the earth is shortly stated as not inconsistent with probability, though not essential to the explanation of the Deluge. The third conjecture is thus summarily dispatched :
• In ascending up from granite, the first calcareous rock I have noticed is mountain lime-stone. This seems to be principally composed of the encrinus and a rich assemblage of corals. The species of bivalves are comparatively few. The superior calcareous strata exhibit progressively a greater variety of animal productions.
This progress scems to indicate successive periods, and periods of uncertain length, which in Scripture language, as it is conjectured, may have been denominated days. Certain it is, that we have no other measure for time but the motion of bodies through a given space. Our moving body is the earth itself in its annual orbit and in its diurnal revolution, the latter of which is marked by the succession of night and day, that is, of darkness and of light. But as these are dependant on the sun, strictly speaking there could be neither of them before its existence ; yet, in perfect conformity to prophetic language, the term day may be referred to period in general, without meaning to restrict the word to its present acceptation.'
By this latitude of interpretation, notwithstanding its vagueness, we may contrive to get rid of a formidable difficulty in the first chapter of Genesis : but, if we do not apply it with great moderation to the history of the flood, Noah and his attendants must have been well stricken in years before they came out of the ark.
The fourth conjecture has a reference to the formation of chalk and fint. It is alleged that the former may have proceeded from submarine volcanozation; and the latter, sometimes from filtration, and sometimes from igneous fusion.- Vthly, says Mr. Townsend, .granulated marble, by its crystalline appearance, and by its vicinity to volcanic regions, leads me to acquiesce in the opinion of Sir James Hall, that it has passed through fire.
A section of some length is devoted to the great Importance of Geology. First, it directs the landed proprietor to a judicious and appropriate management of particular descriptions of soil;
secondly, secondly, it guides and facilitates the operations of the civil engineer, in conducting canals, and furnishing them with a per. manent supply of water; thirdly, it points out to builders the materials most suitable to their designs, and the spots in which wells may be found; fourthly, it is of eminent service to the commissioners of turnpike-roads, and the surveyors of highways; fifthly, it is of direct benefit to the brick-maker; sixthly, to the statuary and marble mason ; seventhly, to the collectors of fuller's earth; eighthly, to coal-adventurers; and, ninthly, to mineral adventurers. Far be it from us to impugn such obvious and salutary truisms : but really we cannot refrain from remarking that they have nearly the same affinity to the Character of Moses,' as the demonstration of the ass's bridge, or the wind-mill of Pythagoras.
In treating of the tenth head, however, Mr. Townsend returns to the proper business of his treatise, and labours to inculcate the existence of an essential connection between the science of geology and our immortal hopes. We most sincerely trust that the latter rest on a more firm foundation than the very imperfect state of our knowlege relative to the structure and revolutions of our globe ; that Neptunist and Plutonist may alike “ inherit the kingdom of heaven;" and that, if the earth was ever wholly submerged in water, we may be piously allowed to ascribe such an awful visitation to the direct and miraculous interposition of the Deity, rather than anxiously seek to trace it to the operation of regular physical causes, or attempt to reconcile it with the obscure and scanty elements of human science.
The futility of the argument for the antiquity of the world, deduced from the strata of vegetable soil interposed between the lavas of volcanic districts, is justly exposed by the present writer: but he seems, on the other hand, to rely with too much confidence on the alleged fact that we can discern no traces of vegetable soil, except on the surface of the earth. The accuracy of the fact itself may certainly be questioned, since, even if we reject the hypothesis of the vegetable origin of coal, it will not be denied that strata of peat.earth and surturbrand have been observed at considerable depths; and that the remains of trees and various plants indicate levels of vegetation considerably lower than the present. Granting, however, that no such visible symptoms existed, it would still be within the range of possibility, nay, of probability, that they had been obliterated by subsequent changes and revolutions.
Mr. T. apparently concludes his work by announcing the eventual appearance of another, On the Languages, Customs, and Manners of the human Race, as described in the Pentateuch,
and in the most venerable Records of the Pagan World;' --wher, lo! another section, on Extraneous Fossils,' takes the reader by surprize. Its object, however, is chiefly technical; namely, to enable the purchasers of his book, by means of extraneous fossils, to distinguish the several strata of our island ;' and, in this point of view, the plates and descriptions may doubtless prove of very considerable service. The whole performance, indeed, bespeaks much industry and observation, and contains a great variety of important statements, relative especially to the geology of our own country: but, considered as a train of theological argumentation, it appears to us to be liable to objection. Some of the principal difficulties, for example, which have been proposed with regard to the inspiration of the books of the Old Testament, the record of the death of Moses, the faculty of articulate language ascribed to the Serpent, the apparent attribution of human speech and human passions to the Deity, the circumstance of Cain building a city, &c. &c., are wholly omitted; while the materials of several of the selected topics are spread into such indefinite diffusion, that the inferences which they were intended to support nearly vanish from contemplation, and the Character of Moses at length recurs to our recollection rather as the appended title than as the subject of the volume. Of the propriety of any attempt to amalgamate the doctrines of Revelation with the discoveries of modern science, we entertain very serious doubts : but, if the truth of the former be supposed to derive confirmation from an appeal to the latter, we could wish to see that appeal conducted in a more luminous and connected manner than the present author has adopted.
Art. II. Travels through Canada, and the United States of North
America, in the Years 1806, 1807, and 1808. To which are added, Biographical Notices and Anecdotes of some of the leading Characters in the United States. By John Lambert. With a Map and numerous Engravings. 2d Edition.. 8vo. 2 Vols.
Pp. 1076. 11. 1os. Boards. Cradock and Joy, 1813. It appears that Mr. Lambert had long been desirous of visit1 ing America, and of exploring the scenes which are rendered interesting in history by the names of a Wolfe and a Washington, before he was enabled to accomplish his wish. In the year 1806, however, his purpose was put in execution, and Canada was the first district that fell under his observation, He has appropriated a volume respectively to that province and to the United States, describing the former with great minuteness, and marking his more rapid survey of the latter with a
In the year was the first distre respectively to with great mi
disposition to candour and impartiality. Without any predilection for the Americans nationally or individually, he is anxious to awaken his countrymen to a due sense of the growing importance of a state which possesses so vast and fertile a territory, and the population of which increases with a rapidity unknown in the long settled countries of Europe. In adverting to the distinctive character of the Canadians and the inhabitants of the United States, he points out that the distance from British habits is much greater in the former : because, although for nearly sixty years they have been subject to our sway, they retain with very little diminution the language and habits of Frenchmen ; while in the United States, notwithstanding a separation during a period somewhat longer than philosophical calculators allow to a generation of our species, and in spite of a very miscellaneous intercourse with the rest of the world, a decided predominance of British manners and customs still exists.
On arriving at Quebec, Mr. L. was highly delighted with the beauty and magnificence of its landscape. The view of that city, and of the surrounding country, presents to the approaching voyager an assemblage of almost every thing that is grand and picturesque. In front, is seen an immense projecting rock, covered with buildings rising gradually one above another, in the form of an amphitheatre ; on the left, is Point Levi; on the right, the island of Orleans; and, farther on, the majestic chasm of Montmorency, with its snow-white-falls, is seen in an opening on the lofty shores of Beauport. The beauty of pature, howeyar, is but indifferently seconded by the labour of art; and, on entering the town, the spectator experiences a disappointment somewhat similar to that of a traveller who is set down in the lanes of Constantinople, after he has approached that city by the canal of the Bosphorus. The streets of Quebec are, in general, so narrow and rugged, as scarcely to deserve the name ; and this account applies unluckily to both the Upper and the Lower town, though the former is the less exceptionable of the two. The Lower town is built by the water-side along the base of the mountain; the Upper stands on the summit of a stupendous rock, and is approached by a street which winds in a serpentine direction up the ascent, but is so steep as to require no small exertion to traverse it, particularly as only a part of it is paved. A more direct communication takes place by a long flight of steps, which, however, in winter, are very hazardous, and have consequently obtained the significant name of Breakneck-stairs :
· The markets of Quebec are well supplied with every thing the country affords. In summer the following articles are brought to
market by the Habitans, and generally sold at the prices affixed to them.
Sterling money. | Beef per lb. 1dd. to 4d.
Beef per il
Mutton per lb. 4d. to 6d.; per sheep 8s. to jos.
| Veal 6d. to 7d. per lb.
Fowls do. Is. 3d. to 25. Poultry | Chickens do. 7d. to rod. and
d o, 25. 6d. to 45. 6d. Game. | Partridges do. rod. to 15d.,
Pigeons per doz. Is. 6d. to 4s. ( Hares each
6d. to gd.'• As soon as the river between Quebec and the island of Orleans is frozen over, a large supply of provisions is received from that island. The Canadians at the commencement of winter kill the greatest part of their stock, which they carry to market in a frozen state. The inhabitants of the towns then supply themselves with a sufficient quantity of poultry and vegetables till spring, and keep them in garrets or cellars. As long as they remain frozen, they preserve their goodness, but they will not keep long after they have thawed. I have eaten turkeys in April which have been kept in this manner all the winter, and found them remarkably good. Before the frozen provisions are dressed, they are always laid for some hours in cold water, which extracts the ice; otherwise, by a sudden immersion in hot water, they would be spoiled.
• The articles of life are certainly very reasonable in Canada; but the high price of house-rent and European goods, together with the high wages of servants, more than counterbalances that advantage.'
The export of corn forms a regular branch of business in Canada, but varies in course according to the currency of the British market : .. The following statement will exhibit the Auctuating demand for wheat, biscuit, and flour, from 1796 to 1808: .
| 1796 1799 1802 1807 1808
The most flourishing of all periods of the Canada trade was the interval of three or four years between the stoppage of the navigation of the United States by the Embargo Act, and their declaration of war against us in June 1812. This, however, being necessarily temporary, the attention of the inquirer